The 1942 Proof Set (Buy on eBay) was the final set to be produced by the United States Mint before the war caused another suspension in production. The mintages for the Proof coins reached their highest levels to date, and a change in composition provided a sixth coin for collectors this year.
The Philadelphia Mint continued to handle production of the collector coins, striking Proof versions of the Lincoln Cent, Jefferson Nickel, Mercury Dime, Washington Quarter, and Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Towards the end of the year, the composition of the nickel was changed to 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese in order to conserve strategic metals for the war effort. Proof coins were struck with both the original and new silver compositions.
The mintage for the 1942 Proof Set is generally stated as 21,120, which is the equal to the lowest mintage for an individual Proof coin of the year.
The 1942 Proof coins are found mostly with brilliant Proof finishes. It is extremely rare to encounter coins with cameo Proof devices and only a handful of coins exist that have been certified as such.
The U.S. Mint sold the Proof coins either individually or as part of a complete set. The complete sets included the Jefferson Nickel struck under the original composition, while the 35% silver version was offered separately late in the year. Although the U.S. Mint did not offer complete 6 coin sets, including both versions of the nickel, these became popular on the secondary market.
No Proof coins would be struck during the years 1943 to 1949. Initially the delay was caused by the second World War, and later the U.S. Mint would be busy striking millions of medals for military awards. The 1950 Proof Set would eventually mark the return of the collector product that continued to grow in popularity.
1942 Proof Set Coins
- 1942 Proof Lincoln Cent
- 1942 Proof Jefferson Nickel (nickel)
- 1942-P Proof Jefferson Nickel (35% silver)
- 1942 Proof Mercury Dime
- 1942 Proof Washington Quarter
- 1942 Proof Walking Liberty Half Dollar
1942 Proof Set Information
- Coins per Set: 5 (six coins for two nickel sets)
- Face Value: $0.91 (five coins)
- Original Issue Price: $1.89 (five coins)
- Mintage: 21,120 (combined number of one nickel sets and two nickel sets)